Monday, May 5, 2014

Traits Tuesday Linky!: Using National Geographic Kids Readers as Mentor Texts

We are rekindling our Traits Tuesday Linky! Click our logo to learn all about it! Simply, share your writing ideas, resources, mentor texts, successes, student work, and MORE related to helping your students become authors.  ANYTHING GOES!  We would love for you to hop on board---we all have a school year full of goodies to share!  Don't have a blog, you can share in a comment!

Writing Traits
Sentence Fluency
Word Choice

Organization and Fluency
Using National Geographic Kids Readers

My students embarked on a wonderful research and writing journey some time ago, and the fruits of their labor have been amazing.  I will be sharing more details and student work in a future post...

In a nutshell, students have collaboratively researched and written informational animal texts.  For now, I would like to share how we used National Geographic Kids readers.

Bold Beginnings

As we know, bold beginnings, grabbing our reader's attention, or hooking the reader (whatever you want to call it) is essential.  To learn how authors achieve this goal in informational texts, we turned to various texts from our classroom library--ultimately we found National Geographic Kids readers to be effective, as they received the most votes from students.  

We explored how four different authors began their books related to the same topic, discussed their level of effectiveness (in comparison to the requirements we generated on our anchor chart), and then brought it to a vote. We did this with several topics.  Why were National Geographic kid readers a favorite?  The kids especially liked the creative questions, how the authors made them think, and how some used a riddle format.

Here are a few we found to have bold beginnings. 

The kids' beginnings turned out to be fabulous!  Samples will be shared soon...

Creative Headings

We went through a similar process in analyzing how different authors use headings.  AGAIN, Nat Geo Kid readers came out on top for their creativity and getting the reader to think about each main idea.  

Quickly, here are some of the headings my kids came up with for the various main ideas in their books--Fur Style (spider monkey's appearance), The Stripe Type (zebra's appearance), Oh, Baby! (snowy owlets), What's for Dinner? (African lion's diet)...

Student proved that they can lead by example, yet be original!

Sentence Fluency

Ponies was an excellent example of how an author begins sentences in different ways.  This was a great opportunity for the kids to see how what they have learned about using pronouns becomes most important when it is applied in the context of their writing.

We focused on the key details the author shared about foals by charting the varied sentence beginnings. We talked in depth about how important sentence variety is to the reader, specifically citing our own feeling when reading informational texts.  

I am sure you have notice the abundance of rich informational texts being published today---I feel National Geographic Kids readers are among them. Nick Bishop's texts were a close runner up in our votes.

I encourage you to think about using these text to teach the traits of good writing.  I bet you already have a few on hand!

Thanks so much for stopping by!!  Please link up or leave a comment sharing your goodies!

AND don't forget Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Teacher Appreciation sitewide SALE! Visit my store!

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